Newspapers to figure out your family tree.

The newspapers we know today are the product of some three centuries of development and are quite different from their 19th and early 20th predecessors.

Three 19th Century industrial developments changed the newspaper dramatically-: the invention of the steam driven printing press; the development of transport systems with steam engines in ships and the railway; and the increasing demand for news by the populace who were becoming more mobile, better educated and more affluent.

Types of Newspapers

National– although these are now carrying news of events throughout the world they were once more local.

Regional– These newspapers usually serve a geographical region and as well as news of events and prominent people of the area they also have ‘district correspondents’ and take extracts and news of local newspapers of the represented region.

Newspapers may also be oriented towards a particular ethnic, cultural, social or political groups and as unofficial sources they often provide information not recorded anywhere else.

Local– these newspapers are the week to week and day to day diaries of communities including ‘ordinary people’ and occasionally the rich and famous or infamous. These are the true treasure chests for the local and family historian.

Ethnic and Foreign Language-these newspapers can be very useful for those whose ancestors came and settled with an ethnic group, particularly from Europe. Communities might have these sent from larger cities to where they settled or they may have used them for advertising their business etc. Well worth looking at when you have exhausted the local newspapers.

Religious– newspapers give news of local as well as national news on a particular religious group. Baptism, marriage and burial events may be included as well as transfer of clergy, lectures and sermons may be published as well as opening ceremonies of churches and church schools.

Political– these perhaps focus on political views and events of a country or region.

Literary– these newspapers publish poetry, plays, stories and literary comments and views.

Military– These give news concerning persons in military, naval and air services. 

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